By Salem Afangideh, Esq.
As working black women, we are too familiar with the grind. We put in the work and make it look good, sometimes at the expense of our own wellbeing.
We tell ourselves things like,
“I’ll rest when I’m dead”
“I’m just securing the bag”
“I have to work twice as hard..”
Until we become immune to our own stress and stressors.
And we don’t stop unless we become sick or have external forces that make us take a break.
Does that sound familiar?
Well, I was the same way until I burnt out in the first year of my legal career. After pushing myself to all my limits during law school, doing internships in the summer, navigating the bar exam, and securing my first paid legal job. I showed up to my first job really exhausted and burnt out. I was ashamed and embarrassed that after putting all this time to learn the law and how to practice it, I could not show up in my career the way I wanted because my brain and body was exhausted. That was when I committed to understanding burnout, stress, and exhaustion and combating them with a serious self care practice that would allow me to be sustainable in my career.
I don’t have an ‘eat, pray, love’ story.
I didn’t quit everything and travel to make life seem easier.
I started with small acts of self care – like drinking water, eating one nutritious thing every day, going to bed half an hour earlier.
These small acts of self care slowly built up to bigger acts.
I returned to journaling, reading books for fun (without the highlighter), reconnecting with friends.
Slowly these acts of self care became the foundation for a life that feels equals part nurturing and career oriented. I hope you can take some time this spring to kick start your self care practice with the following tools:
- Needs assessment: Take some time out to sit with yourself and write down the needs you have that are not being met due to busyness, exhaustion,and other responsibilities you have. Sometimes just naming and acknowledging them can give us the motivation we need to put things in place to get those needs met.
- Take care of the basics: Things like drinking enough water, eating something that truly nourishes and satiates you, exposing your body to sunlight, and moving your body can seem really basic but they really make a huge impact in the ways we feel. Even though these things are basics, its really easy to get too busy for them, or not feel like the demands and responsibilities in our lives allow us to do them, but the good news is that they are really simple things that we can build into the things we are already doing, and no one will make us feel guilty for asking for time to go eat, drink water, or take a walk.
- Schedule & respect self dates: Get out your calendar and set some dates with yourself. Clear out at least a 2 hour block of time and reserve that for you and whatever you need to pour into yourself. Do this as often as you can. I’ve alternated between weekly self dates and monthly self dates, and the only rule is do it as often as you need.
If you would like to spend more time digging deep into your self care practice with some of these tools and many others, join me in my online course “self care for black women” at SalemTeaches.com. Registration is open from April 20-April 27 and the course begins on April 28. Readers can use code: “jenthejd” to get 10% off the course.
Access the course and Coupon here.
See you there!
Salem is a human rights advocate and Lawyer, a self care evangelist, and a serial entrepreneur who sporadically writes, podcasts and teaches things offline and online.
You can connect more with her on instagram @Salem_Afangideh